As Election Day approaches, it is important that every American know some basic facts about Donald Trump, to try to understand what his campaign means to us all. Sadly, you won’t get a lot of that from the mainstream media, which doesn’t want to kill the golden ratings horse.
I’m not talking about Trump’s upbringing and his education, or even his marriages, but about the claims he has made. There are all kinds of things said about “talk” – that talk is cheap for example, or that the less said the better. Shakespeare said, in Henry V, “Men of few words are the best men.”
I would quibble by arguing that what is said is far more important than how much.
Here then are my thoughts about not only Trumps words and deeds, but their context, the essentials that define the man:
1. Think about this: If Donald Trump had a lie detector with an alarm on him that went off every time he lied, he’d never get through a speech; possibly not even a sentence, without being interrupted. At this point, sadly, that is precisely what is needed in order to highlight the rapidity with which Trump tells untruths. Like his lies about inner city crime, or immigrants, or Muslims. You pick the topic.
2. An alarm is needed, unfortunately, because conservatives seem to mistake the lack of a filter with honesty. You see this comment all the time coming from Trump apologists. They think because Trump will apparently say anything, no matter how offensive, he must be telling the truth. And consider this over your objections that it would be a pointless exercise: it would be funny.
3. This much is obvious: For conservatives, what they want to be the truth has become far more important than what the truth actually is. The racist undertones of wanting to “take back” an America that never existed, has morphed into an openly racist “Make America Great Again” (for white people) through lies, hypocrisy, scapegoating and blame-shifting.
4. This sort of thinking is especially evident in the Benghazi hoax, and now the Clinton email hoax, which, like Trump’s inner city crime statistics – or his claims about the economy and unemployment – are all about things Republicans want to be true.
5. And of course, Trump’s own missing emails go largely unnoticed and unremarked, not only by Hillary’s hypocritical Republican enemies but by the mainstream media, which, despite all Trump’s whining, is still taking it easy on him.
6. An especially egregious attack is Trump’s remarks about Anthony Wiener and Huma Abedin, and by extension, Hillary Clinton. Trump’s affections (the politically correct term for what is, in fact, naked lust) for his own daughter must be taken into account when he says of Wiener, he’s “a pervert and just a very sick guy.”
7. If you have seen photos of Trump with Invanka, which are creepy enough, or read the unsettling things he has said about her, about what a “nice figure” and “great body” she has, how if she weren’t hid daughter he’d be “dating her,” his words about Wiener sound just a tad hypocritical.
8. Worse: In a 2015 Rolling Stone article he mused, “If I weren’t happily married, and ya know, her father…“ But Wiener is the pervert.
9. Similarly, Trump now characterizes the Clinton Foundation as a “vast criminal enterprise” even though in the past, he has made donations to the foundation, including $100,000 in 2009. The mainstream media and fact checkers will point out that this donation came from Trump’s foundation – the Donald J. Trump Foundation – and not out of Trump’s own wallet, as though that excuses it and frees him of the charge of hypocrisy.
10. However, Trump himself is quick to take claim for money donated by his foundation when he pushes the claim he gives lavishly to charity. In August 2015 he said, “I give to hundreds of charities and people in need of help,” but the Associated Press pointed out the truth: that this money does not come from Trump, but from others by way of his foundation, because Trump hasn’t given any money to his own nonprofit since 2008.
11. The Washington Post investigated by looking at 93 pages’ of contributions – 4,844 of them – and not a single one was made with Donald Trump’s own money, which gives the lie to “I give…” The AP’s conclusion? Trump “is nowhere among the ranks of the country’s most generous citizens.”
12. Of course, as the 2016 presidential campaign has demonstrated, and fellow rich guy Mark Cuban has pointed out, Trump does not have a lot of that – his own cash, that is.
13. This has become ever more evident: Sleight of hand is the key to Donald Trump’s public image. With a lot of bluster, nonstop lies and no small amount of hypocrisy, he presents himself to America as the person he wants them to see, even if he’s presenting himself now as so many people we can’t figure out which one is really him.
14. There is a biblical adage (Matthew 7:16) that ought to be well known to Trump’s supporters, that in the NRSV goes like this: “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?” Donald Trump has proven the truth of the answer, that no, they are not.
15. Donald Trump is a thistle. There is nothing nurturing or procreative in anything he says or does that does not somehow benefit Trump. He wants to create by destroying, lift some up by pushing others down, as oxymoronic a claim as any he has made.
Take this though with you then as you go about your day: Donald Trump’s words and deeds are his testament; it is by them he wishes to be known. He is certainly free with them. They have entered the world and become real, and this is whether he pretends he never said them or not.